Overcoming a strength plateau can be a very hard task when you don’t know how to do it. However, there are hundreds of tools to help us achieving this goal. Most people just don’t know or don’t use them efficiently.
Here are 3 of these tools that will help you to reach YOUR goals in terms of strength :
Using a different velocity in your movements is very important because if you always perform your movement on the concentric part in a controlled fashion keeping the same speed, you’ll limit your muscle recruitment. To tap into your fast-twitch IIB fibers, you’ll have to increase the velocity on the concentric part. For instance, in a bench-press, that would be when you push the bar up, so you would push the bar as hard as you can keeping the good form obviously. Olympic weightlifting teach you to use these fast-twitch fibers because by itself these lifts demand an extreme velocity. Olympic weightlifting variations are very good precursors to your big compound exercices such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. By using them that way, you will further stimulate your central nervous system and will be able to tap into these fast-twitch fibers. For further information about how to incorporate Olympic weightlifting into your own training, please consult our article Pour plus de renseignements sur comment incorporer l’haltérophilie dans votre entrainement, consultez notre article Skyrocket Your Strength and Power with Olympic Weightlifting !
It is important to have a consistency in your workouts to measure your progress, the tempo will make sure that you have the same stimulus applied. The tempo is a critical parameter that you must consider, it will affect the muscle recruitment and the training stimulus. It could be interesting to take a 2 second pause at the bottom is the most disadvantageous position. Don’t forget that the eccentric phase is the one that cause the most damage to the muscle cells, so slowing it down to 4 seconds may be a good solution for you. If you never prioritized your tempo, don’t be surprised to be as sore as if you would had run 50km for the first time. The next time you go to the gym, you’ll reach new personal bests!
If you have never done any strength cycle, I strongly advise you one. That will help you to further increase your poundages that will transfer into new muscle fiber growth. Don’t make the mistake to follow these famous 10-12 reps used by bodybuilders in the magazines or on the internet, they might work at the beginning if you have never lift a single weight in your whole life, but that’s about it. You will have a lot of benefits from increasing the intensity of your training. By doing so, you will increase your strength and then use it to hypertrophy even more. Don’t forget to adjust your number of sets to keep a good volume of training. So, if you do 3 to 5 repetitions, you might increase your sets to 5 to 10. The tempo will also have to be adjusted and the eccentric speed decreased to avoid any injuries due to the rapid weight increase. Concentrate on 2 to 4 exercises a day. When you do a strength cycle, the exercise selection is very important. Select compound exercises such as bench-press, pull-ups, squat, overhead press, deadlift.
Here’s a sample of what your strength training could look like based on the 5×5 principle :
(5 sets of 5 repetitions, tempo : 4/0/x/0, rest : 90 sec between intervals)
A1: 75 Degree Seated Overhead barbell press
A2: Wide grip pronated Pull-ups
B1: 30 Degree Dumbbell Incline press
B2: EZ-Bar Bent-over Row supinated grip
Contact us now to let us help you overcoming your strength plateaux !
Back pain is the most common pain of the 21th century. Most of my clients in treatment suffer from pain ranging from the lower back to the upper neck. We are in fact victims of our sedentary lifestyle, stress and bad postural habits of everyday. It is important to understand that pain can occur for many reasons and can be prevented if you are pro-active. I would like to introduce you the most important muscle in the body : the iliopsoas.
Now, let’s talk a bit about anatomy. The iliopsoas is the only muscle that connects the lower limbs (legs) to the spine. It starts from the transverse process of the 12th vertebra and the 5 lumbar vertebraes and attaches to the femoral bone. It is essential for a proper motor pattern when you walk. It also plays a major role at postural level. A tight iliopsoas can cause major postural problems that can then lead to long-term chronic pain. Here are some problems that a tight iliopsoas can cause :
- Chronic lower, middle and upper back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Hip pain
- Neck pain
- Knee pain
- Bad digestion
- Liver issues
- frequent urination
- increased premenstrual symptoms
- herniated disc
The list of dysfunction is long since the muscle quality of the iliopsoas affects every internal organs. Each of these organs have a ligament attachement on the iliopsoas. It is therefore imperative that this muscle remains healthy. But how is it getting so tensed?
The majority of the population sit at a desk for an average of 6 to 8 hours a day. When seated, the psoas muscle is shortened and is not recruited. When a muscle stays in a shortened position for a long period of time, it tends to shrink and remain in that position when you get up.
The most effective way to keep it functional is by doing the myofascial stretching of the psoas daily. The best moment to stretch is at night before going to bed. Keeping a good range of motion in the psoas muscle will help you to maintain space between your lumbar vertebraes in order to descrease the compression between the discs. You will also improve your posture by keeping the psoas flexible. Too much tension in that muscle will make you lean forward by 1 or 2 degrees, which can lead to pain from lower back to the neck. Myofascial stretching helps to rela the nervous system and provides general wellness. If you have only two minutes to stretch, the iliopsoas myofascial stretch is the best bang for your bucks stretch. For further information about myofascial stretching, go check out our article : Why stretching? What is the best method?
Stay tuned for the next seminars about myofascial stretching. Some upcoming seminars will be released on the website really soon! To reserve your spot, please call us or send us an email !
The muscle tensions in your internal rotators such as the pectoralis major, minor, the latissimus dorsi, front delt and more negatively affects your posture. By doing myofascial stretching, you will release the muscle tensions that pulls you forward. The myofascial stretching compared to the regular stretching stretch the whole fascia from the toes to the fingers, stretching the muscle and the wrapping around it at full capacity. Therefore, you will obtain faster and better results that way. For further information about myofascial stretching, consult our article What is the best technique for stretching.
2- Strengthen your external rotators of the shoulder
Obviously this goes hand in hand with what I said in the first point. If we stretch the anterior muscles, it will allow us to work better and strengthen more efficiently the posterior chains. Most of the external rotators are postural and therefore slow-twitch muscles that should be worked accordingly in a higher rep-range. The muscle targets should be : the infraspinatus, teres minor, rhomboids, lower and medial trapezius, etc. These are small muscles and must be worked with accuracy, thus increase the weight gradually. At the JFT INTL center, we use the PlateMates that allow us to increase the weight by 5/8 pounds, so we can make small increments. To order PlateMates, visit : http://www.theplatemate.com/ .
3- Move !
The best way to develop postural problems as well as neck or back pain is the famous office work. Do not sit at the computer for more than an hour straight. Enjoy your breaks by walking outside even if it is as less as 5 minutes, that will help tremendously. You should also do your myofascial stretches at home after a busy day at the office.
4- Train your abdominals !
To avoid lower back pain, it is very important to frequently train your abdominals. A weakness of these muscles will make your pelvis to tilt forward, increasing your lumbar lordosis and obviously the compression of the discs. By working seated all day long weakens your abs, so people doing office work should put even more effort into their abdominals training!
5- Discover Posturology !
Posturology is a new medicine that has the sole purpose of correcting your posture and to reduce your pain due to joint blockages and myofascial hypertonicity. By recalibrating the sensors of the body, the two most important being the eye and foot, we will have a direct effect on your tonic postural system. For further information about posturology, which is a service that we offer here at JFT International, please consult our service page : http://www.jftintl.com/services/posturology/.
Call us or send us an email to make an appointment today to correct your posture and to get rid of your chronic pain! Also, stay tuned for our upcoming myofascial stretching seminars given at JFT International!
Exercise has a positive impact on your mood and your stress levels
Physical exercise is the best and the most natural stress relief remedy. Stress is definitively one of the biggest problem in our century that is caused by our lifestyle, social and professional pressure and the busy schedules as well. When we tell you that you should also find time and energy to go to the gym to exercise, you would find that quite abusive. However, what would you say if I tell you that exercising would be the solution to decrease your stress levels? When you feel tired, the last thing you want to do is big physical efforts. Nevertheless, we know now that, via different pathways, exercise gives us more energy rather than draining it!
Sport, by stimulating the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins provides you a wellness state and has an effect on your mood and your stress. These neurotransmitters secreted by the body in a physical activity are also efficient at overcoming fatigue. Obviously, these two factors contribute tremendously on your energy levels. If you change some habits by moving more, you’ll be less tired and less anxious.
Furthermore, if you practice a sport properly, it may promote some muscle tensions release that often affects stressed people. Everyone experiencing any kind of stress or anxiety would benefit from doing a sport. You’ll see results after only a few weeks on both your energy levels and your muscle tensions. To achieve good results, you must exercise regularly.
Sports regulate the internal ear, which will ensure you a restful sleep. By increasing your sleep quality, exercise will help you fight fatigue. Furthermore, the effect on the neurotransmitters, as mentioned above, will also have a positive impact on your sleep. Make sure to avoid any intense physical activity before going to bed!
Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle is the best move to give you efficiency, security, pleasure in life, to optimize your energy potential, decrease muscle tensions, improve breathing, improve blood flow, and help removing metabolic wastes that accumulate in the body.
For other ways to reduce stress through training, nutrition and supplements, call us now or send us an email to make an appointment with our specialists!P
I used to train myself sometimes in a commercial gym and I noticed some elements that most of the people do that would be essential to improve to get better results, a better posture and less injuries.
Here are 5 common errors that I’ve seen regularly that prevent you from maximizing your potential :
1- The ratio of free weights to machine exercises
Under certain conditions, the use of machine exercises can be useful to add some variety considering that these are good quality machines. However, I think that people should limit themselves to 20% of machine usage compared to free weights. By doing so, you will drastically increase your muscle recruitment and you will further stimulate your central nervous system.
2- Not performing your exercises in their full range of motion
I often see a lot of people increasing their poundage at the expense of the range of motion used. This is not a good idea. Even if you lift 100 pounds more, by doing only half of the movement, you will not gain strength plus or minus 15 degree of the angle worked, you will not fully stimulate your fibers and you will disrupt joint integrity by creating various muscle tensions. There are some exceptions in which different range of motions should be used but this goes beyond the scope of this article. As a general rule, make sure to always perform a full range of motion especially when you increase the weight.
It is a known fact that most of men want to have big pecs. The problem is that the pectoral is an internal rotator of the shoulder, so if you overdo your pecs, you will create an instability of your humerus and your scapula because of the imbalance of your internal and external rotators. The solution is simple : put more emphasis on your external rotators such as the infraspinatus, the teres minor, the inferior and media trapezius as well as the rhomboids. For the next weeks, do 1 exercise of pec for 2 exercises of back. You will see fast results in both hypertrophy and strength and your posture will drastically improve. Be careful however, the latissimus dorsi, which is the dominant back muscle is also an internal rotator of the shoulder.
4- Lack of variety in exercise selection, repetition range and tempos
Charles Poliquin, one of the most successful trainer in the world, always says : «A program is only as good as the time it takes to adapt to it». This couldn’t be more the truth and unfortunately many people seems to underestimate the ability of the body to adapt to stimulus. Don’t be afraid to change your repetitions and your tempo often. It would also be a great idea to use uncommon angle on the bench like 55 or 40 degrees because even a slight change of a few degrees change completely your muscle recruitment.
People often tend to increase their poundage at the expense of the technique. This even happens sometimes unconsciously. Why ? Because the body is intelligent and always try to perform a task as easily as possible. Obviously, it is much easier to use 5 muscles to perform the same task as using only one muscle. However, by doing so, you do not strengthen your weaknesses. As the proverb says, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link”. Therefore, this week look at yourself in the mirror when you’ll be performing your exercises and try to figure out which muscles are helping you to compensate in your movement. Then, it will be easy to fix the problem.
To get additional help to correct your mistakes, make an appointment today and let us evaluate you and make a specialized program that suits for your needs at JFT INTL !